Enjoying a taste of Cornwall in the Midlands, Yorkshire and beyond
There's finally light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic as the run-up to Easter is set to bring us a few small steps closer to some kind of normality.
Lockdown is being loosened and restrictions slightly eased, but for foodies and holidaymakers the wait goes on before they are able to pack their suitcases or book their favourite restaurants. In the meantime, we must continue to improvise and discover ways of not missing out.
For many of us in Yorkshire and the Midlands, a holiday in Cornwall is perhaps the closest feeling we get to being abroad without leaving UK shores.
Endless sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes, pasties, surfing and the finest seafood restaurants - it's the stuff that lockdown dreams are made of.
But why wait? One of the most famous names to come out of Cornwall is celebrity chef Rick Stein, who has been enlightening us for years with his TV food adventures and mouth-watering recipes alongside trusted Jack Russell sidekick Chalky.
And he continues to do so as throughout lockdown people across the country have been able to enjoy several of Rick's tried and tested classics in the comfort of their own home by ordering a 'Stein's at Home' food box.
There's several delicious menus to choose from - from Coq au Riesling and steak to vegetarian and even a weekend Cornish breakfast - but being a lover of seafood I opted for the three-course 'Hake Menu', which for £45 for two people, plus postage, was a snip for the quality of ingredients.
It really is restaurant-quality food delivered to your door. The box arrived promptly late morning, so it was just a case of unpacking and finding a space in the fridge.
You don't need to worry about intricate prepping as all the hard work is done by Rick's chefs in Cornwall, so all that's needed is an oven, plates, cutlery and some seasoning.
For starter there was Smoked Mackerel Pate with sourdough bread and mixed leaves. I'm always a sucker for mackerel and the smoothness and flavour of the pate was like nothing I had ever tasted.
Of course, fish is Rick's speciality and the Grilled Hake Piperade, which was accompanied by Serrano ham and a lemon and pimenton thinned mayonnaise, was as succulent and flavourful as I'd have expected.
And who doesn't love the good old British classic of a Sticky Toffee Pudding to round off proceedings? This was pure indulgence and to give it the Cornish twist came with a very generous tub of clotted cream.
Each course was an absolute delight and certainly not your average takeaway. Hats off to Rick and his team for reminding us what could be in store for us later in the year as restaurants fling open their doors again - fingers crossed!
Stein's at Home details:
Seven three-course menus for two people, from £40-£100
Available for delivery nationwide every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
Visit rickstein.com for details